ISS-bound cargo ship destroyed after launch

Progress 65 on the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan(Credit: NASA/RSC Energia)

The International Space Station (ISS) had another setback today as a Russian cargo ship was destroyed shortly after launch. At 9:51 am EST (8:51 pm Baikonur time, 14:51 GMT), The unmanned Progress 65 (Progress MS-4) spacecraft lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan atop a Soyuz-U launch vehicle. According to Roscosmos, the spacecraft separated prematurely from the third stage 382 seconds into flight, at which time telemetry was lost.

The Russian space agency states that the cause of the malfunction is still unknown, but a state commission is investigating the incident. After the loss of telemetry, tracking radar confirmed the spacecraft did not reach its designated orbit and broke up somewhere beyond an unpopulated area of the Republic of Tyva, 190 km (118 mi) downrange of Baikonur.

Progress 65 was carrying 2,450 kg (5,401 lb) of supplies for the ISS, including food, fuel, oxygen, and water. This is the third recent loss of a station-bound cargo ship, with a US Cygnus destroyed six seconds after launch in 2014, and a US Dragon breaking up in flight in 2015.

NASA says there's no immediate threat to the space station from the loss of the cargo, and that a Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV)-6 cargo ship is scheduled to launch on December 9.

Source: NASA

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